I’m sure this hasn’t been touted around campus enough, but our new class of first-year students is smart. With an average ACT composite score of 27, they are the highest-scoring class at the University of Dayton to date. Many of these students have declared majors requiring a full course load such as pre-medicine, physics and engineering. But if they ever have the desire to explore outside of their major, they must be prepared to pay through the nose.
You see, UD enforces a strict limit on the credit hours covered by tuition; $16,000 covers a student for 12-17 credit hours and nothing more. If students taking “full” workloads want to attempt to minor outside of their majors, they must pay $1067 per credit hour. In other words, if they want to obtain a minor that requires as little as 12 credit hours, they will need to pay $12,804 over their career in order to secure it.
Of course, they do have another option. By taking the classes at a community college, they can save money and transfer their credits to UD. They would have the minor on their diploma, but many of the classes wouldn’t have been taught here. To me, this is dishonest. It’s not fair for an employer to be told that a student received a minor from UD because, let’s face it, a degree from UD is held in higher esteem than a comparable degree from Regional State Community College.
So the moral student is left in a quandary. They can’t afford to further develop their interests within a quality classroom setting at the school they love, and know that they are cheating themselves and others to seek it elsewhere.
There is, however, another option. The university could do away with the credit limit for a certain number of students.
Most students at this institution want to take classes simply to expand their worldview and open themselves up to new information and ideas that add to their majors. If allowed to explore outside of their majors and develop unique perspectives on their studies, graduates might one day make spectacular advances in their fields.
Now, there is certainly a valid argument that the school would not be able to remain solvent if it allowed students to take more credit hours to “explore” without additional fees, but there are simple solutions. I will outline two.
First, we have the option to make unlimited credits open only to students who complete a rigorous application. This allows the school the ability to teach its students all it can while still remaining solvent.
Second, the school could simply do nothing to regulate who has unlimited credit access. Even now, we have students who are taking only the minimum 12 credit hours to maintain full-time status, effectively wasting $4705 per semester by not taking a full course load. Who is to say that they will even move past 17 credit hours if offered the chance? The students who would take this initiative are those who are already in highly technical research fields that require discipline and intuition. These are the people who hunger for knowledge to help better humanity. These people will make the most out of the education they have received and will use it to further the advances already made in their fields.
Sure, there is a financial risk to the university, but with the chance of having its graduates add stunning advances to their fields and improve the quality of life for humanity, can the university really sit idly by and hope for the best?